How to Stain Hemlock Wood

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Things You'll Need

  • 220-grit sandpaper

  • Tack cloth

  • Pre-staining wood conditioner

  • 3-inch china paintbrush

  • Oil-based wood stain

  • Lint-free cloth

Hemlock is a porous lumber used in construction and furniture creation. The wood is harder than pine, but softer than many other varieties and this can lead to uneven staining. A sanding and conditioning treatment will help the hemlock absorb the stain evenly so you can get the exact color you want. Bare hemlock is very light, so you can stain it any color from a light golden tint to black.


Step 1

Let the wood piece sit in its intended environment for 48 hours. This allows the wood to become acclimated to the humidity and helps prevent uneven staining due to wood swelling or shrinking.

Step 2

Sand the surface of the wood with a 220-grit sandpaper, following the grain of the wood. Wipe the wood with a tack cloth to remove the dust.

Step 3

Apply a pre-staining wood conditioner with a paintbrush using long, even strokes that overlap. The conditioner will prevent the stain from setting unevenly. Allow the conditioner to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.


Step 4

Stir the oil-based wood stain with a paint stirrer so the pigment is evenly distributed. Use exterior stain for outer doors, and interior stain for interior doors or furniture. Dip a 3-inch china brush into the stain and begin applying it to the hemlock, following the grain of the wood.

Step 5

Continue applying the stain in even, over lapping strokes with the paintbrush. Let the stain sit for 10 minutes, then wipe off any excess with a lint-free cloth.

Step 6

Let the stain dry according to the package directions. Apply another coat for a darker finish.



Dawn Gibbs

Based in Richmond, Va., Dawn Gibbs writes about topics such as history, fashion, literature, crafts, alternative medicine and healthy living. Her work has appeared on and several style websites. Gibbs holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Virginia Commonwealth University.